Last week I was heads down working on content for a workshop I’m delivering to a group of high potential employees at a major credit card and banking company. These “hi-po’s” are on the fast track, and management wants them to become proficient in the fundamentals of personal branding and networking as they climb the ladder.
What Makes a Leader?
As part of my due diligence I interviewed several senior executives in the firm to understand what behaviors, characteristics or traits best signaled that someone was a leader in the making… What did they look for when determining who to promote, who to mentor, or who to champion?
Interview after interview the executives confirmed what I’ve known all along: it is paramount that employees be able to articulate their value to the organization, and that they are comfortable networking with all levels of staff, especially their up-line.
Of note, one woman said she looks for well-rounded individuals who have interests outside of the office. She believes, as do I, that people who experiment and explore… read and play… who have many interests in life and pursue them with passion… they are not only more enjoyable to work with but they’re more creative at problem-solving. They bring broader viewpoints to the table; in short, they have greater sway.
As I took the stage this past Tuesday before 300 Junior League of Chicago members at their Fall Conference, I thought about the young women before me who spend part of their precious free time helping at-risk women and children lead better, healthier lives. They’re smart, they’re driven, they’re giving and generous, and in contributing their time and talent to a worthy cause they also make life-long friendships.
Members of the Junior League make connections that will help open countless doors. They learn to lead, to collaborate, to find common ground, and to promote the causes they care about. I know because I was once one of them.
Find Your Passion
What is your passion? It may be coaching youth soccer, tracing your family tree, singing in a choir, learning to cook or paint or speak french, or it may very well be that your passion is raising your children.
Whatever it is, find your passion. Pursue it. Be in action. Feeling good may be reward enough, but the signals you send will no doubt increase your sway.